MARCH 2, 2012:
Ndikumana and Boyce- book on the debt issue in Africa. They reveal that contrary to popular perception of
Africa being a drain on the financial resource of the west, the continent is a net creditor the rest of the
$700 billion in the past decades in money flowing out of the African countries
For Africa states, it is more important to freeze the assets and try to find a way to finance development (ex.
Done with Ghaddafis money in Canada)
The debt payments are draining resources from Africa, making less money available for public health and
That money is normal considered as an odious debt and should not be reimbursed as it has impeded
Aid is a Trojan horse- an instrument of control (as described by Weissman)
According to Ferguson, development can be understood as anthropologys evil twin, because development
is concerned with the same geographical areas and communities but threatens and challenges the
assumptions that anthropologists hold dear.
Applied anthropology allows participant observation. The researcher is supposed to stay in a community,
living and learning like the community does. Progressively, he understands the less culturally sensitive
works of science, engineering, economics etc.
The project cycle obeys sequences- identification (know the area, the smaller the better), the appraisal,
planning, implementation (starting the project), operation and maintenance, evaluation, and lastly, project
In the post modern critique of international corporations critique them where development discourse is a
set of power techniques (an organized type of knowledge). Shareholder and stakeholder relations become
the normal relationship in international corporations.
Nation states in the modern system dont move. They could collapse or disappear, part could make a
succession, but the state does not move as a physical territory. It is a fixed and stable location.
Solidarity is the raison detre of the international corporation
In an internationalist point of view, solidarity exists because it contains the seeds of the future democratic
collectivist society. It is incompatible with the neo-liberal agenda
Volunteering abroad and field work- not a purely self-less act, because you benefit.
MARCH 5 , 2012:
Movie: The New Rules of the World- a special report by John Pilger
Protests against globalization as a popular movement
Gap between rich and poor is very vast
Globalizations effect on Indonesia:
It should not be poor, as it has so many natural resources and a lot of human labour. World Bank called
Indonesia a global economic success a few years ago, but as many as 70 million people live in extreme
MARCH 12, 2012: Debt and Dispossession
Every human is entitled to social, political, economic development.
This is a basic human right and no one can be denied this right
This right to development is contested by the issue of debt
Wampum- the Indians receive wampum bids for the transfer of their claims to the white community.
These were a way of trading in the past with the Iroquois, the Algonquin, trading fur. The story shows that
in fact, people trade their territory in an anthropological gesture of peace, when really they were giving
away their land.
When did debt start? In Adam Smiths work, he claims money was invented to replace the barter system. In any self-sufficient
group you trade and bargain and exchange for goods. This created inconvenience if people didnt have
what you need and you needed to be involved in a long distance market.
Did credit arrive before money or after?
Money s just a social construct, but how do you prevent poor people from falling into debt traps and
becoming enslaved to wealthy people when credit is slowly becoming a system in a society.
When comparing our society to ones in the antiquity or medieval period, everyone indebted in the society
is always indebted to a small minority (only 2 or 3% of the minority)
People would sell their family members or themselves to reimburse for the debt
In Mesopotamia and Babylon, the credit and debt system was elaborated because money started as a
standardized unit (whether it was bronze, silver, or gold).
Anthropologists noticed that the system of credit (if you give without receiving, which establishes a
relationship of authority and power and puts the receiver in a subordinate position until they give and
create equality) started fading with Mesopotamia. This system has no type of hierarchy (whereas caste
systems are based upon those with power giving without receiving, but they would receive by other ways
which are not strictly economic)
We take for granted that interest rates are normal
Buy today, pay tomorrow: a strategy (that is a trap) based on the debt
It wasnt seen as a trap because countries could already afford living beyond their means as long as the
merchandise that is overproduced is sold. A crash occurs if you cant pay for the overproduction.
Strata of civil society
MARCH 14, 2012:
Why are we indebted? What is the behaviour we have when in debt? How does this relate to government,
private consumers, business, etc.?
Lecture focus: How structural adjustment affected populations and how the conditionality measures have
The vast majority of money is not created by the mint, it is created by private corporations know as banks.
America has always had debt, and it has carried debt that fluctuates with the political and social climate of
The world capitalist system is fighting against a recession, so the debt issue is very important.
After 9/11, citizens were told to shop and boost the economy. How are societies accepting this trend?
The debt burden is the main obstacle to development.
Structural adjustment was an austerity policy. The poor had to adjust to the world capitalist system, not
the other way around.
The social component of public expenditures has been blamed.
The first thing is to downsize the state- to erode the economy, the civil service. This was done through tax
reforms favourable to capital, de-regulation of the market and the labour market, by the slow abandonment
of tools that would allow state sovereignty. Nationalization, de-regulation of trade. These were put in all
over the world. It was a top-down approach.
How did society react? The populations felt incapable of fighting these measures because those
responsible for the debt were not the victim. Those responsible were found in the most industrialized
countries- the World Bank, governments of the North, who let billions of dollar to recycle their capital and
Societies decided that they needed a welfare state in order to respond to the inability to pay the debt. Most
of the response in the 1960s and 1970s that citizens wanted was a welfare state.
In 1980-1982, the neo-liberal agenda (Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Brian Mulroney).
Structural adjustment policies endured by the population started in 1982, and it was part of an offensive
form to take control of what had been lost in the last 15 or 20 years.
Within a few year (10-15) the equivalent of several Marshal Plans were transferred to the financial capital
of north from the South. For citizens, they were seeing the erosion of key elements of their natural sovereignty and created a natural
The 1st structural adjustment policies had an element of corruption. Many civil servants and elites were
buying up the things that were being de-nationalized.
Suppression of subsidies hit basic good and services, and was hit by agrarian reform. It touched bread,
tortilla, and rice, and people began to go into the streets and protests when it hit these basic foodstuffs.
IMF and World Bank gave bailout loans, which was quite exceptional. For the first time, Latin American
countries dealt with crisis without using debt default. The percentage of Latin Americans living in poverty
went up considerable from 1980 to 1990, and their economies shrunk by an average of 7%.
American debt has been rising steadily over the years. The projected mount of American debt in the past
few years is 100% of American GDP.
Some blame individual nature and greed and irresponsibility, other blame consumerism; which is
masterminded by marketing techniques.
What makes people adapt to the debt culture?
Institutions like lotteries, casinos, pawnshops, credit card companies, hindered the American and Canadian
ability to save their earnings and get ahead financially. They could be blamed as the main contributors to
the growing amount of consumer debt.
Credit card industry- you dont have the sense of physically spending your money, so there is an
unconscious dimension. Plastic has become an American way of life.
The average age of the credit card holder is very young. Student loans are also part of the market. It is clear
that the credit card is not necessarily the problem.
The whole system can be handled as long as we consume. We